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How Do You Build The Relationship With Your Dog?

Most dog owners want to have an amazing relationship with their dog. You know, he follows you like a shadow, or silently lays at your feet for hours while you sip coffee and read the paper at your favorite coffeehouse. How does that happen? Or does it just happen? Are some dogs simply genetically disposed to being the best dog you have ever had? Here are a few tips to consider to help you build that amazing relationship with your dog:

1) Groom your dog. That does not mean that you need to become a licensed groomer, but there are a few things you can do. You can give him a bath. You can trim his nails. You can clean his ears. All good for the dog, all good for your relationship with your dog.

2) Touch your dog. Stable and secure dogs love to be touched. Find that special place for your dog (e.g. behind the ears, the belly, paws, etc.) and give him that special touch-treat. Be mindful of doing this at the wrong time, which can encourage bad behavior you will have to correct later. For instance, giving him the touch he wants when you come home and he is overly excited will encourage what? It will encourage him to be overly excited every time you come home! And it will become a real annoyance.

3) Hang out together. Walks are good, but think of other things to do with your dog. Take him with you whenever you can...when you run errands, when you pick someone up or drop them off at the airport, when you deliver Girl Scout cookies. We spent the afternoon yesterday scouting potential houses to buy, and yes, Kora and Fiona went with us.

4) Play with your dog. Find out what he likes to do, and do it. Fetch is the, of course, the gold standard, but you can do other things as well. Hide and seek is one of Kora and Fiona's favorites. Play is incorporated into training, and developing appropriate play habits is key.

5) Train your dog. This one is commonly overlooked, and sometimes viewed as a one-time event. Start with the basics and move to more advanced training. Even on simple walks, do some refresher training like the come command.

Dogs love structure, and for them, structure helps build that relationship you desire.

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